Ah, mid January. It’s been a wild year since we’ve last been here but it all seems so familiar. The sky is grey, the trees are bare, the Bulls are loosing to the Havoc, the magic of Christmas is over and now everyone is sick of the cold. We all know what this time of year means. That’s right, we are less than ONE MONTH from the start of COLLEGE FOOTBALL!! What? Did you think I was about to write about basketball or hockey or curling? No its about to be college football season as FCS team across the country are gearing up for a spring season.
And as the season approaches, inevitably we get to see preseason polls and predictions that always end up being wrong but are equally fun to talk about. This week the Southern Conference released their preseason rankings as well as the preseason All Conference selections. With Samford being Birmingham’s local SoCon team, let’s take a look at who the experts and coaches picked to be the best teams and athletes of the spring season.
The Coaches and Media Polls look very similar to each other, with a few notable exceptions. Any way you look at it, Furman and Wofford are the projected top two teams with Wofford getting the nod from the coaches and Furman from the media. This makes sense, both teams have been historically great, with Furman going toe-to-toe with two FBS teams in 2019. And despite having the worst mascot and least threatening logo in the conference, Wofford has put together some good teams. (although they haven’t been able to beat Samford since 2014). Chattanooga and The Citadel, with the teams both swapping 3rd and 4th place rankings, and both with 1st place votes. The two will play each other on March 6th, in what should be an important game for both team’s shortened seasons. Samford ends up right in the middle of both polls, coming in 5th both times. With so many close games last year it would be easy for the Bulldogs to both improve this position, or drop lower.
Let’s talk about the first team all conference selections, and how about the Samford Bulldogs with five selections to the first team list. The two offensive selections are no brainers. Mike Williams will be an experienced veteran in the trenches and Montrell will look to improve his incredible season from a year ago. His season last year earned him an FCS All American recognition for returning kicks last year, so it is no surprise to see him on the top of the list for return specialists coming into this season. Another special teams all conference Bulldog selection is kicker Mitch Fineran, who is reliable as they come. With punter Bradley Porcellato selected for second team all conference, Samford is well represented in all three special teams categories. Rounding out first team selections is defensive lineman Armond Lloyd, who with 63 tackles in his junior year has offensive lines on high alert. Look for him to have a big season.
Samford is represented in the 2nd team selections as well, with Jay Stanton selected for running backs and Ty Herring for defensive backs. The Jay Stanton selection is not surprising for Samford fans, but it is highly impressive. For one, Jay is only a sophomore, so his selection into this position is not only a great indication of his talent, but encouraging for a bright future for Samford football. Perhaps a bigger deal is his selection despite the style of offense Samford runs. The “Hatch Attack” is extremely pass heavy, leaving not a lot of touch for running backs. A selection of a Samford running back in spite of this shows the respect the league has for his talent.
This should be an exciting season for both the Bulldogs and FCS football as a whole. Remember to keep checking back for more Samford updates as well as getting out and seeing the Bulldogs in person as they look to start play in February.